Raymond Frank Down Sr. was surrounded by family when he left this world to join his heavenly family on October 18, 2013. Ray was born on May 9, 1928, in Medford, MA, to Cyril and Virginia (Shapleigh) Down, the second of their nine children. When Ray was two years old, the family moved from depression-era Massachusetts to Grand Falls, Newfoundland, where the family grew and thrived.
After high school Ray began his life-long support of his beloved United States by joining the Army Air Corps at Pepperrell Air Force Base in St. Johns, Newfoundland. It was there that he fell in love and married the beautiful Helen Miriam Adams. That loving relationship continues to this day with 68 years of marriage and a bond that will last for eternity.
Ray is survived by his loving wife, Helen and their four children and their spouses: Carol Down Molina, Raymond Down, Jr. and wife Alice, David W. Down and wife Patti, and Lisa Down Micucci and husband Mark. His grandchildren are Donald Molina (Lynette), Joseph Molina, Rilyn Down Arries (Brett), Robert Down (Kellie), Laird MacDonald (Kelly), Adam Down, Patrick Down, William Down, Mary Down Lara (Nick), Megan Down Grippo (Vincent), Bonnie Micucci Boyle (Michael), Kevin Micucci and Sean Micucci. He also leaves 10 great-grandchildren: Jeff, Dakota, Kylee, Fisher, Malin, Ayden, Jonathan, Avery, Sarah and Ryan. His surviving siblings include Paul (Edna) Down, Robert (Shirley) Down and Sylvia Down Mesh. Many nieces, nephews and cousins in the United States and Canada remember Ray fondly. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Edna, and brothers William, Cyril, John and Chesley.
Ray loved his country and served in the US Air Force for 20 years. His stations took the family to Texas, California, France, Japan, and Nebraska. While in the Air Force Ray completed his AA degree, and he retired with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant in 1966. His experience in data processing helped him land a job with NCR Corporation in Los Angeles, then Dallas, Dayton and back to LA. In 1976 he went to work for Hinshaw’s Department Store in Whittier, CA, retiring in 1990 as the CFO. Ray and Helen then returned to live in Lompoc on the Central Coast, one of their favorite spots. They spent the next 20 years traveling extensively and visiting family in the US and Canada until poor health slowed them down.
In his younger days Ray loved to keep active and especially enjoyed fishing and camping. He was a Boy Scout leader when his sons were growing up. For years he belonged to several bowling leagues at a time, and he loved the challenge of bridge and his daily crossword puzzles. He was a voracious reader, a lover of history and maps, and was the keeper of the family stories. In recent years Ray and Helen looked forward to the annual camping trip to Refugio with his own family and the extended families of his Lompoc friends. While not usually a “joiner” Ray enjoyed his membership in the Elks, was proud to be a member of the Whittier Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was especially proud to be a member of the St. Mary’s parish in Lompoc.
Mostly Ray loved his family and enjoyed gatherings both big and small. He reveled in celebrating the success of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ray and Helen attended every baptism, graduation and wedding and as many birthdays, games, matches, meets and recitals and celebrations as possible. His keen observations and wit enriched every occasion.
At the time of his passing we also reflect on his spiritual and emotional strength, his integrity, his loyalty, his faith, his kindness, his honesty, his commitment to God, Country and his beloved family. He chose his words carefully, because he was a man of few words and a man of his word. When he spoke, you listened, because you knew that what he was saying was important, and that he had thought about it. All who knew him felt blessed by his presence and know that the world is a better place because he has been a part of it. We will be sad, though he would not like that; he didn't like much fussing. We will rejoice in the time we had with him, an amazing man, husband, father and grandfather.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Starbucks-Lind Mortuary. A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, 2800 Harris Grade Road, Lompoc, CA at 2:00 PM, Saturday October 26, 2013. Internment will be immediately following the service in the Church Memorial Garden.
In lieu of flowers you can make a donation to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church’s “Red Shirt Mission,” the Lompoc Hospital Foundation or a charity of your choice.